Review Summary: Overcoming some early filler, this debut’s strong 2nd half exhibits potential beyond Kisschasy’s years. So much so that they may be the band to bring Australian pop-punk to the forefront… Thick accent and all.
Accents are often strangely overlooked when it comes to discussing popular music, especially since they can make or break an artist on occasions. Bands such as the Arctic Monkeys are not only talented enough to overcome a lead vocalist with a thick accent, but they are able to use it to their advantage in providing character to their songs. However, many others are not so lucky and if their music lies anywhere near the mainstream, will often fail to even get a look in from an audience who want to be hooked immediately.
One genre which is especially susceptible to accent-related problems is pop-punk. Since the majority of bands who have been successful in this style of music have emanated from the U.S.A, any band with a singer who doesn’t have an American accent is going to stand out like a sore thumb. One case in point is Australian quartet Kisschasy, where lead singer Darren Cordeux has such a distinctive Aussie accent that it is easy enough to miss the telling opening lyrics of their debut LP ‘United Paper People’; “This is a toast to all the people listening, I hope it gets stuck in your head”.
The opener to which the above line belongs to is the unashamedly titled lead single ‘Do-Do’s & Whoa-Oh’s’. A conventionally structured and infectious piece, Cordeux does not exactly hide his intentions elsewhere on this song as he yelps “I wanted something that gets attention, this is the way it goes… Do-Do’s & Whoa-Ohs”. Of course, if one is still getting over the accent, the cut may take a few listens to reel you in. Not so fortunate are four of the remaining five tracks foolishly placed on the opening half of the album.
Whether it is the accent or simply the quality of the songs included within the first six tracks of ‘United Paper People’, the results are underwhelming. They either wander aimlessly, blend into any other pop-punk like song, or are too short to be anything more than half-decent interludes which do not capitalize on the ideas within them. 3rd single ‘This Bed’ is a slight exception in this grouping since it is a nice little rockier cut which still contains an ample serving of hooks.
Thankfully, come track 7 ‘Water on a Stove’, things pick up and there is surprisingly hardly a missed step throughout the latter half of the LP. The aforementioned strings-assisted cut really impresses and begins a succession of tracks where Cordeux’s vocals are actually used to each piece’s advantage. Subsequent up-tempo songs – 4th single ‘Face Without A Name’, hard-rocker ‘United Paper People’ and the anthemic ‘What We Become’ – all prove this, while also bringing some musical talent to the surface since there is a concerted effort to differentiate themselves from the pop-punk pack.
Ironically, it is on two ballads where Cordeux’s accent is most prevalent, where Kisschasy truly suggest their potential. Both 4th single ‘The Shake’ and closer ‘Black Dress’ not only use acoustics, piano and strings exceptionally well, but they exhibit an emotion and songwriting flare which should distinguish Kisschasy further as they mature. The closer’s tale of a man digging up his deceased lovers body out of grief (“I made my mind up last night that heaven just can’t have you”) may be twisted, but it is performed in such a manner to make it endearing!
While 42 minutes may not seem like an overly long album, it may just be two or three too many tracks for the young band Kisschasy were when they released ‘United Paper People’ in 2005. There is simply too much filler included to rate the album too highly as a whole. Yet, with the LPs strong second half, one cannot help but leave the listening process on a high and be impressed with this quartet’s potential. If they continue to grow as musicians and songwriters, while also having their songs better produced, then Kisschasy may just be the band to bring Australian pop-punk to the forefront… Thick accent and all.
Recommended Tracks: Do-Do’s & Whoa-Oh’s, Black Dress & Water on a Stove.